A Complaint of Surveillance

IPT/A1/2013: Reported in [2014] 2 AER 576

In order to investigate a complaint of unlawful surveillance the Tribunal held a hearing in open court regarding paragraph 2.29 of the Surveillance Code of Practice.

A preliminary point of law arose in connection with a complaint under RIPA. The complaint was of unlawful surveillance. In order to determine the complaint, it was necessary for the Tribunal to decide whether the covert recording of a “voluntary declared interview” of the complainant amounts to “surveillance” for the purposes of Part II of RIPA.

The Tribunal considered whether a participant in a “voluntary declared interview” was entitled to complain that its being covertly recorded was an infringement of his Article 8 rights. The interviewer was simply asking questions, and observing and listening to the answers voluntarily given by the interviewee. The Tribunal declared that the covert making of a recording of a voluntary declared interview in the course of an investigation or operation is not surveillance within the meaning of Part II of the RIPA. A record of the questions and answers made by the interviewer, either manually or by a device, in the course of the voluntary interview could not reasonably be regarded as an infringement of Article 8 rights.

Judgment dated : 24 Jul 13

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